Tuesday, December 23, 2008

What’s the difference between Automatic and a Quartz?

Although many of us aspire to collecting fine Swiss watches, many of my customers are unsure of the differences between an Automatic and a Quartz watch movement.

Some people may think that this is an embarrassing question to ask, but I can remember a time when I presumed that a smooth, sweeping movement was only reserved for one of those impressive clocks I saw as a child at railway stations. When I found out that you can get a sweep movement in a watch, I had to have one right away!

So, basically speaking, an Automatic movement is one which has a smooth sweeping action, easily demonstrated by a seconds hand as it travels at a continuous cyclic rate around the watch dial. A Quartz movement is the common watch movement, with the repeating starting and stopping action.

Why do collectors prefer Automatic movements? Simply because an Automatic movement represents a higher standard of mechanical engineering than a Quartz movement.

At the heart of an Automatic movement is the the rotor which pivots forwards and backwards at high speed - this uses energy stored in the mainspring, wound by either manually winding the crown of the watch, or the motion of the automatic winding mechanism by the kinetic movement of your wrist. The power is translated via a series of wheels, cams, and pinions.

Differently, a Quartz movement uses a battery, circuit board, and far simpler mechanisms. Take a look at a picture of an Automatic movement versus a Quartz and you’ll appreciate the differences.

For a good investment in a luxury watch, a quality mechanical Automatic movement is always considered to be more valuable than a Quartz movement.

Thanks for reading, I would love to hear your comments.

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